tv CNN Tea Party Republican Debate CNN September 12, 2011 11:00pm-1:00am EDT
tonight, eight republicans, one goal. to win the white house and kick barack obama out. cheering them on, their powerful allies and fierce critics. the grassroots movement putting a bold stamp on this election. the tea party. tonight's players -- >> i love america. i'll fight for america. >> mitt romney. the early front-runner. >> obama care. >> focused on attacking the president. now, turning his attention to a more immediate opponent.
>> i'm going to be a pro business president. and i'm not going to make any apologies about it. >> rick perry, the newcomer. he got a late start, then surged to the front of the pack. with a conservative voice, folksy and brash. michele bachmann. the firebrand. >> we're here to win. >> she aced an early test in iowa. proving she's a top tier contender. as well as a lightning rod. >> ron paul! >> herman cain! >> the rest of the field in search of a breakthrough. jon huntsman. the diplomat. carving a more moderate path to try to defeat his exboss, the president. ron paul, the libertarian.
billing himself as the freedom fighter in the race. rick santorum, the fighter. known for throwing hard punches from the right. herman cain, the businessman. who plays up his experience as a pizza executive and his inexperience in politics. newt gingrich, the big thinker. once the most powerful man in the house. now looking for traction after early stumbles. tonight, eight candidates, one stage, one chance to take part in a groundbreaking debate. the tea party support and the republican nomination. on the line. right now. >> and welcome to the florida state fairgrounds here in tampa. the site of the first ever tea party/republican presidential debate. one year from now right here in tampa, the republican national convention will nominate the republican candidate for president of the united states. tonight, eight contenders will be on this stage to try to convince voters he or she is the
best choice to hold the highest office in the country. and joining them inside this hall, tea party activists from florida and across the nation. i'm wolf blitzer. i'd like to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world, including u.s. troops and their families watching overseas. tonight's debate is airing on cnn, cnn international, cnn espanol, and the american forces network seen on u.s. military bases in 175 countries and aboard navy ships at sea around the globe. we also want to welcome our co-sponsors, the tea party express, and more than 100 state and local tea party groups from across the united states. members of the tea party movement will play an active role in this debate. we'll take questions from here in florida, one of the most critical battleground states in the nation. we'll also take questions from
tea party activists in three other key states. watch parties are under way right now in portsmouth, virginia, an historic navy port and a 2012 election battleground. in phoenix, arizona, the western states shaping the national debate over immigration. and in cincinnati, ohio, the midwestern swing state that has been decisive in so many elections. it's time now to meet the 2012 republican presidential contenders. joining us now on stage, the former u.s. senator from pennsylvania, rick santorum. the former speaker of the house, newt gingrich.
and the former governor of utah, jon huntsman. ladies and gentlemen, the republican candidates for president of the united states. ladies and gentlemen, please rise now and join recording artist diana nagy as she leads us in the national anthem. ♪ o say, can you see by the dawn's early light ♪ ♪ what so proudly we hailed at
the twilight's last gleaming? ♪ ♪ whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight o'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming ♪ ♪ and the rockets' red glare the bombs bursting in air ♪ ♪ gave proof through the night that our flag was still there ♪ ♪ oh, say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave ♪
♪ o'er the land of the free ♪ and the home of the brave? >> diana nagy, thanks very, very much. candidates, please take your podiums, and while you do, i want to tell all of our viewers, everyone here, a little bit more about how this debate will work. i, obviously, will be the moderator. i'll ask questions and follow-ups and i'll work to try my best to make sure that each candidate is getting his or her fair share of the questions and the answer time.
and as i mentioned, the tea party activists will be asking questions here in the hall as well as from our remote sites. and viewers, you too can participate. we're accepting questions for the candidates on twitter. make sure to include #cnnteaparty. on facebook and, of course, on cnnpolitics.com. each candidate will have one minute to answer questions and 30 seconds for follow-ups and rebuttals. i'll make sure that each candidate gets the time to respond if they are singled out for specific criticism. it's important that the american public knows where the candidates agree on the substantive issues and where they disagree. we want everyone watching to emerge from this debate more informed about these eight people who each want to become the president of the united states. now that the candidates are all in place, it's time for the candidates to introduce themselves to our audience. i'm asking them all to keep it
very, very short. here's an example of what i have in mind. i'm wolf blitzer and i'm usually in "the situation room" but tonight i'm thrilled to be at the tea party republican presidential debate. governor huntsman, we'll begin with you. >> wolf, delighted to be here. yesterday we were reminded how extraordinary this country is when we pulled together during a time of need. today, ladies and gentlemen, we are deeply divided. i believe i have the experience and the leadership necessary to move this country forward. >> i'm herman cain. i am the only nonpolitician on this stage tonight, and i believe that america has become a nation of crises. that's why i want to be president of the united states of america. >> my name is michele bachmann. i know we can do so much better in this country. that's why i'm the chief author of the bill to repeal dodd/frank. the bill to repeal obama care.
that's why i brought the voice of the tea party to the united states congress as the founder of the tea party caucus. >> my name is mitt romney. and like you, i recognize that america's economy is in crisis. got a lot of people without work and a lot of people wonder whether the future is going to be brighter for their kids. i spent my life in the private sector. i understand how jobs come to america and why they go. and i want to use that experience to get america growing again, adding jobs and assuring every citizen that they know that their kid and their grandkid will have a brighter future. thank you. >> i'm governor rick perry. and i'm proud to be here today with the tea party express, and i simply want to get america working again and make washington, d.c., as
inconsequential in your life as i can. >> i'm congressman ron paul. a congressman from texas. i've been in the congress for 20 years. my goal has always been to promote the cause of liberty and to obey the constitution. i plan to do that as president as well. >> i'm newt gingrich. i think it is totally appropriate that we're having this particular debate on 9/12. and in the spirit of 9/12, i hope to work with you to fundamentally, profoundly change washington in what will be a long and difficult struggle against the forces of reaction and special interests. >> i'm rick santorum. i'm a former two-term senator from a state that has over a million more registered democrats than republicans, and i won two elections there without having to change my policies or my party to win.
>> ladies and gentlemen, the eight republican presidential candidates. all right. let's start off here in tampa. we have a tea party activist. please identify yourself and ask your question. >> member first coast tea party, jacksonville, florida. my question, how will you convince senior citizens that social security and medicare need to be changed? and get their vote? >> good question. let me begin with michele bachmann. congresswoman, how do you do that? how do you go ahead and change reform social security, medicare while at the same time getting votes? >> well, one thing that we need to let senior citizens know is that for those who are currently on the social security system, the united states government made a promise to senior citizens, and we have to keep that promise to them. but we also need to know that
for those who are not yet on the system, the system simply has to be reformed in order for it to work. the same goes with medicare. we know that president obama stole over $500 billion out of medicare to switch it over to obama care. we also know that medicare hospital trust fund will be bankrupt within nine years. these are programs that need to be saved to serve people, and in their current form, they can't. we need to have someone who understands these programs, who understands the solutions to these programs. i'm a person that's had feet in the private sector and a foot in the federal government. i've been there long enough to know the problems, but not long enough to become a part of the system. i know what to do and i have the core of conviction to be able to make the changes that senior citizens can count on. >> governor perry, speaking of social security, you said in the past it's a ponzi scheme, an absolute failure, unconstitutional, but today you
wrote an article in "usa today" saying it must be saved and reformed. very different tone. why? >> first off, the people who are on social security today need to understand something. slam dunk guaranteed, that program is going to be there in place for those. those individuals who are moving towards being on social security, that program's going to be there for them when they arrive there. but the idea that we have not had the courage to stand up and look americans in the face, young midcareer professionals or kids that are my children's age and look them in the eye and said, listen, this is a broken system. it has been called a ponzi scheme by many people long before me. but no one's had the courage to stand up and say, here is how we're going to reform it. we're going to transform it for those in those midcareer ages, but we're going to fix it so
that our young americans that are going out into the workforce today will know without a doubt that there were some people who came along that didn't lie to them, that didn't try to go around the edges and told them the truth. >> governor romney, you said that governor perry's position on social security is, quote, unacceptable and could even obliterate the republican party. are you saying he could not, as republican nominee, beat barack obama? >> no, what i'm saying is that what he just said, i think most people agree with, although the term ponzi scheme i think is over the top and unnecessary and frightful to many people. but the real issue is in writing his book, governor perry pointed out that in his view that social security is unconstitutional, that this is not something the federal government ought to be involved in, that instead it should be given back to the states. and i think that view, and the view that somehow social security has been forced on us
over the past 70 years, that by any measure, social security has been a failure, this is after 70 years of tens of millions of people relying on social security, that's a very different matter. so the financing of social security we've all talked about at great length. in the last campaign four years around, john mccain said it was bankrupt. i put in my book a series of proposals on how to get it on sound financial footing so that our kids could count on it. but the real question is does governor perry continue to believe that social security should not be a federal program, that it's unconstitutional and it should be returned to the states or is he going to retreat from that view? >> let's let governor perry respond. you have 30 seconds. >> if what you're trying to say is that back in the '30s and the '40s that the federal government made all the right decision, i disagree with you. it's time for us to get back to the constitution and a program that's been there 70 or 80 years, obviously we're not going to take that program away. but for people to stand up and support what they did in the
'30s or what they're doing in the 2010s is not appropriate for america. >> but the question is, do you still believe that social security should be ended as a federal program as you did six months ago when your book came out and returned to the states? >> i think we ought to have a conversation. >> we're having that right now, governor. we're running for president. >> and i'll finish this conversation. but the issue is, are there ways to move the states into social security for state employees or for retirees? we did in the state of texas back in the 1980s. i think those types of thoughtful conversations with america, rather than trying to scare seniors like you're doing and other people, it's time to have a legitimate conversation in this country about how to fix that program where it's not bankrupt and our children actually know that there's going to be a retirement program there for them. >> governor, the term ponzi scheme is what scared seniors, number one. and number two, suggesting that social security should no longer be a federal program and
returned to the states is unconstitutional and is likewise and number two, suggesting that social security should no longer be a federal program and returned to the states is unconstitutional and is likewise frightening. there are a lot of bright people who actually agree with you. that's your view. i think that social security is a fundamental program. >> you called it a criminal -- you said if people did it in the private sector, it would be called criminal. that's in your book. >> what i said was -- governor perry, you got to quote me correctly. you said it's criminal. i said congress taking money out of the social security trust fund is like criminal and it is and it's wrong. >> congressman paul, let me expand this conversation. do you agree with governor perry that social security is a ponzi scheme? >> well, i agree that social security is broke. we spent all the money and it's on its last legs unless we do something. one bill that i had in congress never got passed was to prevent
the congress from spending any of that money on the wars and all the nonsense that we do around the world. now the other thing that i would like to see done is a transition. i think it's terrible that the social security system is in the problems that it has -- it has the problems that it has, but if people wouldn't have spent the money, we would be okay. now, what i would like to do is to allow all the young people to get out of social security and go on their own. now -- the big question is how would the funding occur? >> hold that thought for a minute because i want herman cain to get involved. are you with governor perry that social security is a ponzi scheme? >> i don't care what you call it. it's broken. and here's my solution. start with optional personal retirement accounts. in 1981, the galveston county employees, they opted out because that was a very short
window of opportunity. they took it. today when people retire in galveston county, texas, they retire making at least 50% more than they would ever get out of social security. secondly -- secondly, allow younger workers to have personal retirement accounts as an option. now, to answer this gentleman's question, current seniors will not be affected. it's to give the option to the younger workers. the galveston county model worked, and it also worked in the small country of chile. instead of giving it to the states. let's give it back to the workers. that's what personal retirement account will do. >> governor huntsman, when it comes to reforming social security is anything from your perspective off the table? >> i don't think anything should be off the table except the drama that's playing out on the floor today. to hear these two go at it. you have governor romney who called it a fraud in his book "no apology."
i don't know if that was written by kurt cobain or not. then you have governor perry calling this a ponzi scheme. all i know is we're frightening the american people who just want solutions. this party isn't going to win in 2012 unless we get our act together and fix the problem. we all know that we've got entitlement problems, we've got medicare, social -- the fixes are there. i mean, the ryan plan is there, for heaven's sake. we've got the answers. we don't have leadership. that's the problem. >> speaker gingrich, would you raise the retirement age for social security recipients. >> no, not necessarily. but let me start with -- i'm not particularly worried about governor perry and governor romney frightening the american people, when president obama scares them every single day. that's eating into my time.
let me just say to all of you -- >> let me just pinpoint the question. what would you do to fix social security? >> okay. but can i also expand for a second? because that was not a rhetorical joke. president obama twice said recently he couldn't guarantee delivering the checks to social security recipients. now why should young people who are 16 to 25 years old have politicians have the power for the rest of their life to threaten to take away their social security? now, i just want to make two simple points about social security and how you save it. the first is you get back to a full employment economy and at 4% unemployment you have such a huge increase in funding that you change every single value of projection in a positive way. you say precisely as several folks here have said it. if you are younger -- everyone who's older and wants to be totally protected, fine, no change. don't let anybody lie to you
starting with the president. no change. but if you're younger and you would like a personal account, you would control instead of the politicians. and you know you'll have more money at the end of your lifetime if you control it. why shouldn't you have the right to choose? >> thank you, mr. speaker. senator santorum. when it comes to social security, are you with governor romney or governor perry? >> well, the question is who is with me. because i've been out here talking about -- you want to talk about courage to tell the truth, governor. i was out in 1994 running against a democratic incumbent in a campaign managed by james carville and i went out and talked about social security reform. why? because i knew this day was coming. and i had the courage to go out and say social security is in trouble. and i told a group of young people at lasalle university that we needed to do something like raising the retirement age. they ran that on tv for three weeks prior to the election in
the second oldest per capita state in the country. i still won the election. why? because the people of pennsylvania wanted someone who had the courage to tell them the truth. and i had the courage to tell them the truth. what i've done since i was in the united states senate is every year i proposed -- i went in fact with bill clinton in 1997 on the first bipartisan social security town hall meeting. and i was the spokesperson. a republican conservative from a blue state out there leading the charge on social security. you folks want someone with courage, i've got a track record of courage and a track record of concrete proposals on how to fix this among some of the things that have been discussed here tonight. >> senator, thank you. let's go to another question. we have a question now from the audience. go ahead identify yourself. >> my name is dr. bridget melson with the pleasanton tea party. my question is what is your plan to balance the budget and get this spending under control so
that my children's share of the debt is erased without compromising my retired mother's already tenuous financial future? >> good question. i'll ask speaker gingrich to respond and i'll paraphrase it. how do you do that? how do you protected senior, balance the budget, so much of the budget goes to defense and entitlements like social security and medicare. >> but that's just a washington mythology. anybody who knows anything about the federal government knows that there's such an enormous volume of waste that if you had a serious all-all effort to modernize the federal government, you would have hundreds of billions of dollars of savings. let me say i helped balance the budget for four straight years. this is not a theory. rick and i were working together. this is not a theory. you voted for it. so we can balance the federal budget. but let me start with -- all of you should go to strong america now which is a group that believes if you modernize the federal government, you save $500 billion a year.
check and see whether the supercommittee of 12 in their august power is willing to sit down with that group and actually learn how to be smart rather than cheap and actually modernize the federal government. one example, one example, the federal government is such a bad manager of money that somewhere between 70 and $120 billion a year in medicare and medicaid is paid to crooks. we wrote a book several years ago called "stop paying the crooks." i thought it was pretty obvious even for washington. i would start to balance the budget by stop paying the crooks, not by cheating honest americans. >> senator santorum, staying on the issue of spending, budget deficits, you voted for the prescription drug benefits for seniors when you were in the united states senate costing about a trillion dollars. if you had to do it again, you wouldn't vote for that. but if you were president of the united states, would you repeal prescription drug benefits for seniors under medicare? >> i think we have to keep a prescription drug component but
we have to pay for it. in other words, we have to have a program that is funded. the reason that program has actually worked well is it's come in 40% under budget because it's a program that uses private sector insurance not government-run one size fits all health care. if we do that for the rest of medicare, which is what the ryan proposal suggests and something that i proposed, again, years ago, had the courage to go out and lead on this issue, then we'd be able to have a prescription drug program and we'd be able to have medicare that you choose. the idea that unless we have a government-run one size fits all medicare program that that's throwing grandma off a cliff is washington think is people who think in washington, this president, who believes that they know better than you how to run your life and how to purchase your health care. i trust you, i trust the american people. that is the greatness of our country. >> thank you, senator. governor perry, it was president
bush who pushed for prescription drug benefits for seniors, not president obama. it was president bush who pushed for prescription drug benefits for seniors. the question to you. if you were president -- it's not a difficult question -- would you vote to eliminate, to repeal those prescription drug benefits for seniors under medicare? >> no. it's a $17 trillion hole that we have in our budget we've got to deal with. i think that's the issue, how do you find the savings and still deliver the services. in the state of texas we combined a substantial amount of our health and human services from ten down to five agencies. we put an office of inspector general into place, and we saved over $5.3 billion, newt, just by finding the waste and the fraud in texas state government. i'm thinking there might be more waste and fraud in the federal government than even there is in the texas government. >> just to be precise, if you were president, you wouldn't repeal prescription drug benefits for seniors under medicare? >> that's what i said when i started the conversation. >> just want to be precise on
that. governor romney, what about? >> i wouldn't repeal it. i'd reform medicare and reform medicaid and reform social security to get them on a sustainable basis, not for current retirees but for those in their 20s and 30s and early 50s. we talk about all the waste in government and inefficiency and having spent 25 years in business, i know something about taking waste out of federal enterprises. i'd love to do that to the federal government. there is massive waste. we won't balance the budget by pretending we have to take out the waste. we have to cut spending. i'm in favor of cutting spending, capping federal spending as a percent of gdp at 20% or less. and there's a second part to balancing the budget. and that's growing the economy again. and that's why i laid out a plan to restructure the foundation of america's economy to start creating jobs again so people are paying taxes, businesses are paying taxes, not because we're
raising the rates, but because we're growing the economy. the right answer for america is to stop the growth of the federal government and to start the growth of the private sector. >> congressman paul, what about you? would you repeal it? >> we should have never started it, i voted against it. but that sure wouldn't be on my high list. i'd find a lot of cuts a lot of other places. as a matter of fact on social security it is already being reformed because the cost of living increases aren't there. so the value is going down. so no, there's places we should cut. i'm not sure i can get anybody to agree with me on this panel, but we spend $1.5 trillion overseas in wars that we don't need to be in and we need to cut there. then put this money back into our economy here. and that is the only way to achieve it. then it still wouldn't be enough in order to get some people out. what we need to do is cut the department of education, the department of energy and all these departments and get rid of them. then we can do it.
>> we'll get to national security. don't worry. congresswoman bachmann. >> i think the principle has to change. for years, politicians have run on the idea that government is going to buy people more stuff. and that the federal government would be taking care of people's prescription drugs, their retirement, their health care, anywhere housing, food. we're the everybody else that's paying for the freight for all of these things. that's the principle that has to change. because we have to now recognize that going forward, this isn't going to work any more. we have to be an ownership society where individual responsibility, personal responsibility once again becomes the animating american principle. and we can't be ashamed of that. >> we've got a lot more to discuss. we're only just beginning. i want to take a quick break. i want our viewers out there to know they can weigh in, they can respond, go to twitter facebook, cnn.com. we want to hear from you if you have questions for these eight republican presidential candidates. you'll have an opportunity to
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welcome back to cnn tea party republican presidential debate. we got a question from portsmouth, virginia. please identify yourself. go ahead. >> good evening. my name is sandra jones from yorktown, virginia. my question is what would you do to get the economy moving forward? do you have a plan, and, if so, what is it? >> good question. let's ask governor huntsman, the first thing you would do as president of the united states knowing, of course, that president obama today formally gave legislation to congress with his jobs plan? >> let us recognize first and foremost that what we're seeing
playing out in america is a human tragedy. we have millions and millions who are unemployed, millions who are beyond so dispirited they've completely given up trying to find a job. moms, dads, families that have been economically shipwrecked. it's a great american tragedy we're watching play out. i have put forth a program that is patterned after what i did as governor. when you look at everybody on the stage here all you have to do is say where have they been and what have they done? first and foremost, i want to reform this tax code. i put forward a program that the wall street journal has come out and endorsed. it calls for stripping out the loopholes and the deductions and lowering the rates for individuals. cleaning out corporate welfare and subsidies on the corporate side and lowering the rate leaving us a whole lot more competitive for the 21st century. that's the business i drop on the doorstep of congress. second is regulatory reform. because we cannot go forward
with obama care. we cannot go forward with dodd/frank because businesses in this country are saying, there's no predictability, there's no ability to see around the bend. we don't know what costs are going to be. we're not hiring and bringing people on. third, this country needs to wean itself from its heroin-like addiction to foreign oil. >> the president's plan has a lot of tax cuts, payroll tax cuts, middle class tax cuts, tax credits for hiring veterans, tax credits for hiring long-term unemployed people. are those things you would support? >> and he's going to pay for them all with raising your taxes. that's the issue. he had $800 billion worth of stimulus in the first round of stimulus. it created zero jobs. 400 plus billion dollars in this package. and i can do the math on that one. half of zero jobs is going to be zero jobs. this president does not understand how to free up the
small business men and women or, for that matter, wall street. you give people the opportunity to risk their capital by lowering the tax burden on them, by lowering the regulatory climate and you'll see an american economy that takes off like a rocket ship. and that's what we need to be focussing on in this country, freeing up the small businessmen and women to do what they know how to do, which is risk their capital and give them half a chance to have an opportunity to have a return on that investment and they'll go risk their capital. that's what the president of the united states needs to do. quit the spending. give clear regulatory relief and reform the tax code. >> just to be precise, whenever the president supports tax cuts, that has to be balanced with spending cuts? >> i would suggest to you that people are tired of spending money we don't have on programs we don't want.
>> congresswoman bachmann, i'll bring mr. cain in in a moment, but the bush tax cuts in 2001 and 2003, which went across the board were not offset with spending cuts. and as a result potentially a lot of economists think the deficit went up and up and up. >> well, there's a reason why the deficit went up and up and up. when you have a trillion dollars worth of spending that you don't pay for, it's going to go up. now we're seeing again that the president wants to do more of the same. i was the leading voice in the wilderness of washington all summer. i was one of the only people in washington that said, do not raise the debt ceiling. don't give the president of the united states another $2.4 trillion blank check. you've got to draw the line in the sand somewhere and say no more out of control spending. the president wanted to borrow money from countries like china to pay it back for a stimulus. we've got $1.2 trillion already
that's been earned by american countries overseas. if we have a 0% tax rate, wolf, we can bring that 1.2 trillion -- it's called repatriation -- bring that in. you'd have 1.2 trillion flooded into the system, then pass the free trade agreement so that we can move the economy. permanently lower the tax code. i'm a federal tax lawyer. i know how to do that. repeal dodd/frank, repeal obama care. it really isn't that tough if you try. it is easy to turn around this economy. just have the backbone to do it. >> mr. cain? >> yes. this economy is on life support. we need a bold solution, not one that tinkers around the edges, not one that allows politicians to continue to pick winners and losers. i believe we throw out the entire tax code and put in my nine nine nine plan. nine nine nine. a 9% business flat tax, a 9%
personal income tax and a 9% national sales tax. i've been told by some people, you can't get that done. i say why? well, because you don't know how washington works. yes, i do. it doesn't. the american people are ready to do something more. we need a bold solution in order to get this economy growing at the maximum rate. i agree with many of the others up here who say, you get the government out of the way. american entrepreneurship, american businesses, they will create the jobs if we provide some certainty. >> governor romney, you know governor perry as governor of texas created more jobs in texas than any other state. >> terrific state, no question about that. some wonderful things that texas has going for it that the nation could learn from. zero income tax. that's a pretty good thing. right to work state. republican legislature, republican supreme court. by the way, a lot of oil as well. we're an energy rich nation. we're living like an energy poor nation.
i spent my life in the private sector. i've competed with companies around the world. i've learned something about how it is that economies grow. it's not just simple, waive a wand and everything gets better. it's structural changes. the world has changed. what's happened over the last 20, 30 years is we've gone from a pay phone world to a smartphone world and president obama keeps jamming quarters into the pay phone thinking things are going to get better. it's not connected, mr. president. if we're going to get this economy going, we have seven things we need to do, make our tax code competitive with the world, get regulations to work to encourage enterprises. make sure we have trade policies that work for us not just for the other guys. four is to have energy security in this country by developing our energy resources. five so execute the rule of law, which is to stop the boeing decision that the nlrb put in place. six is to make sure that we have institutions that create
fantastic human capital. and finally number seven is to balance the budget. people won't invest here unless they have confidence here. >> just to get back to the question. does governor perry deserve any credit for all those jobs that were created in texas? >> oh, sure. >> tell him how much credit he deserves. >> well, look, i think governor perry would agree with me that if you're dealt four aces that doesn't make you necessarily a great poker player. and four aces and the four aces that are terrific aces are the ones the nation should learn from, the ones i described, zero income tax, low regulation, right to work state, oil in the ground and republican legislature. those things are terrific. and by the way, there has been great job growth in texas. under ann richards, growth was under 2% a year, george bush 3% a year. those are all good numbers. texas is a great state. if you think that the country is like texas going swimmingly well, then somebody who has done that is just terrific. but if the country needs a turnaround, that's what i do. >> governor perry, you were
dealt four aces. >> i was going to say you were doing pretty good until you got to talking poker. but the fact is the state of texas has led the nation. while the current resident of the white house is overseeing the loss of 2.5 million jobs, texas during my period of governor has created over a million jobs. we did that during some pretty tough economic period. one of the things that's really important, one of the things that the fed reserve chairman said was the most powerful, one of the most powerful things that happened, was tort reform that we passed in that state. you want to talk about some powerful job creation, tell the trial lawyers to get out of your state and to quit costing businessmen and women. that's what needs to happen in the states. and it's also what needs to happen at the federal level, passing federal tort reform at those federal levels. >> congressman paul, you're from texas.
does your governor deserve all that credit? >> not quite. i'm a taxpayer there. my taxes have gone up. our taxes have doubled since he took office. our debt has gone up nearly triple. so no, and 170,000 of the jobs were government jobs. so i would put a little damper on this, but i don't want to offend the governor because he might raise my taxes or something. but i would like to mention something that we said earlier about a tax cut. and how do you pay for a tax cut? i think that's the wrong principle. because when you give people their money back, it's their money. you don't have to pay for it. that means that the government owns all of our money if you look that way. so we have to cut the spending, and a good way to start, there's a little embassy we built over in baghdad that cost us a billion dollars. it's bigger than the vatican. that's what's bankrupting this country. and that's the easy place to
cut. that's where we should be cutting. >> governor perry, you have 30 seconds to tell congressman paul whether you're going to raise his taxes. >> while i've been governor, we cut taxes by $14 billion. 65 different pieces of legislation. you may not have seen them representative paul, but the fact of the matter is that there are people coming to texas for five years in a row, the number one destination, they're not coming because we're overtaxing them. they're coming to texas because they know there's still a land of freedom in america, freedom from overtaxation, freedom from overlitigation and freedom from overregulation and it's called texas. we need to do the same thing for america. >> let me bring speaker gingrich into this conversation. jobs, jobs, jobs. all of us who covered you when you were speaker and you worked with president clinton at the time you compromised, he compromised. you got things done. there was a budget surplus for as far as the eye could see. if you were president, would you
work with the democrats assuming they were the majority in the house or the senate? would you compromise with them on some of these gut issues? >> after the last debate when governor huntsman and governor perry and governor romney each explained how their state was the best at job creation, we went back and checked and the four years i was speaker we created -- the american people, not me -- created more jobs in utah than under governor huntsman. more jobs in massachusetts than under governor romney. and more jobs in texas than under governor perry. i don't claim credit for that. it was part of the private sector, the job creation. but the american people create jobs, not government. okay? now, ronald reagan, when i was a very young congressman, ronald reagan taught me a great lesson, if you have democrats in charge. that is to go to the american
people on principle, have the american people educate their congressmen. he used to say, i tried to turn up the light for the people so they will turn up the heat on congress. when we passed welfare reform, half the democrats voted yes because they couldn't go home having voted no, and on a principle basis, i'd be glad to work with democrats in any office but i do it on principle, not on compromising principle. >> thank you, mr. speaker. we have a question via cnnpolitics.com. all of you profess to be pro-business candidates for president. can you be pro-worker at the same time? mr. cain? >> the answer is absolutely yes because i was a worker before i was an executive and before i was a business owner. absolutely. and when i ran the national restaurant association, it is a collection of small businesses, godfathers pizzas the same way, when i ran the region for burger king, one restaurant is the basic fundamental business unit in this country.
so yes, i know how to be pro worker because i came from a pro worker family. my mother was a domestic worker, my father was a barber, janitor, a chauffeur all at the same time. i understand work because that's how i came up. so the answer is absolutely yes. the two are not mutually exclusive. but what we need is the right leadership. starting with are we working on the right problems? if we keep tinkering around the edges on the tax code or tinkers around the edges on social security, we won't solve the right problem. >> thank you, mr. cain. governor huntsman, have you experience in the business community and government, why would you be more effective in creating jobs than any of your rivals on this stage? >> let me just say about workers, this country needs more workers. can we say that? and we're not going to get more workers until we actually have an economic plan led by someone who has actually done it before, presumably as a governor, to
create the environment in which the private sector can then work its magic. that's how we're going to get from point a to point b. let me say that we have put forward a plan, wolf. i want people to take a serious look at this because you can come up with a spin on everything -- any way to describe your plan, come up with fancy language. but i just want you to take a look at what we have done where we have been, in terms of proposing job creation measures under tax reform in our state, that is totally applicable to what this country needs. looking at regulatory reform, creating the most business friendly environment in the entire united states. creating health care reform without a mandate. i know everything's bigger in texas and rick likes to talk that way. i know all the smart people reside in massachusetts. but let me tell you, the great state of utah was number one in job creation at 5.9% during my years as governor. we were the best managed state in america. we were the best place in america for business. i'm the only person on this stage, wolf, who can actually lay claim to all of that. and you know why it's important because it's exactly what this
country needs at this point in his history. >> we're going to let everybody respond. we've got a lot more to talk about including national security. it's a critical issue. taxes, federal reserve, health care. many more subjects coming up. go to twitter or facebook, cnnpolitics.com. we want to hear from you as well. our special coverage of this historic cnn tea party republican presidential debate will continue after this.
naomi pryce: i am. i'm in the name your own price division. i find empty hotel rooms and help people save - >> - up to 60% off. i am familiar. your name? > naomi pryce. >> what other "negotiating" skills do you have? > i'm a fifth-degree black belt. >> as am i. > i'm fluent in 37 languages. >> (indistinct clicking) > and i'm a master of disguise >> as am i. > as am i. >> as am i. > as am i. >> well played naomi pryce.
my question tonight is, what is your position on the federal reserve? should it indeed be audited and be held accountable by the american people? >> senator santorum? >> i believe with an audit on the federal reserve. what we should do with the fed is to make it a single charter instead of a dual charter. i think the second charter that was instituted, had it be responsible for increasing employment and dealing with that leads to a fundamental distrust with the american people, they're taking the eye off the ball on sound money. with respect to some of the questions that were asked in the last segment on the economy, i would just say that. some people say that barack obama's economy is a disaster. my feeling is it would have to make a dramatic improvement just to be a disaster. what we need to do is have a pro growth plan that can pass the congress with democratic support and, as newt mentioned, be able to rally the american people. what the american people want is
a policy that's going to give people the opportunity to rise in society. to fill that great middle of america. and that is manufacturing jobs. that's why my plan takes the corporate tax, which is 35%, cuts it to zero and says if you manufacture in america, you aren't going to pay any taxes. we want you to come back here, we want you to have made in america stamped on your product. >> mr. cain. >> yes. >> you were once with the kansas city federal reserve. should it be audited? >> yes, it should be audited. and secondly, i believe that its focus needs to be narrowed. i don't believe in ending the fed, i believe in fixing the fed. for many, many decades the fed does it job when it was singular focused on sound money. when we wake up in the morning we expect 60 minutes to be in an hour. now when we wake up because of some of the actions of the current fed, we don't know what the value of the dollar is going to be. in 1988 it took 1.2 dollars in order to be able to convert from
canadian to the u.s. it is now totally reversed because of the current policies of the fed. >> thank you. congresswoman bachmann. you know that governor perry has suggested that ben bernanke, the head of the federal reserve, potentially should be tried for treason for what he's doing. do you agree? >> well, as president of the united states i would not be reappointing ben bernanke. but i want to say this, during the bailout, the $700 billion bailout, i worked behind the scenes against the bailout because one of the things that i saw from the federal reserve, the enabling act legislation is written so broadly that, quite literally, congress has given the federal reserve almost unlimited power over the economy. that has to change. they can no longer have that power. why? because what we saw with all of the $700 billion bailout is that the federal reserve opened its discount window and was making loans to private american
businesses. not only that, they are making loans to foreign governments. this cannot be. the federal reserve has a lot to answer for. and that's why it's important that they're not only audited, but they've got to be shrunk back down to such a tight leash that they're going to squeak. >> it's one thing to say you wouldn't reappoint him, ben bernanke, to be head of the federal reserve, it's another thing do you agree or disagree with governor perry that potentially he's engaged in treason? >> well, that's for governor perry to make that decision. my opinion is i would not reappoint ben bernanke. >> you stand by those remarks, governor? >> i said that if you are allowing the federal reserve to be used for political purposes, that it would be almost treasonous. i think that is a very clear statement of fact. i am not a fan of the current chairman allowing that federal reserve to be used to cover up
bad fiscal policy by this administration. and that, i will suggest to you, is what we have seen. it is a travesty that young people in america are seeing their dollars devalued in what, we don't know if it was political or not because of the transparency issue. but i stand by this, we need to have a fed that is working toward sound monetary policy that creates a strong dollar in america. and we do not have that today. >> governor romney, is there anything you disagree with governor perry on that point? >> well, my own view is quite simply that the federal reserve has a responsibility to preserve the value of our currency, to have a strong american currency such that investors and people who are thinking about bringing enterprises to this country have confidence in the future of america and in our currency. people will not invest in this country and create jobs in this country for the american people if they don't have belief in our
currency. of course we should see what the fed is doing. there should be some oversight to make sure that it's acting properly. but at the same time we recognize that we need to have a fed. why do i say that? because if we don't have a fed, who's going to run the currency? congress? i'm not in favor of that. >> let's take another question from the hall. go ahead. please identify yourself. >> hi. my name is tyler hensly, i'm from napa, california. well, first of all, thank you guys for coming out tonight. my question is, every dollar that i earn, how much do you think that i deserve to keep? >> oh, i love that question. i love that question. >> governor huntsman? >> well, i've come out with a tax program that basically simplifies, lower, flattens the rate, why? because i did it as governor in the state of utah. i believe that that means something. i look at people in the workplace trying to make ends
meet. you ought to be given a competitive tax code. you need to clear out the corporate welfare and all the subsidies. 8%, 14%, 24%. those are the three rates that i think would work on the individual income side. on the corporate side, i think we recognize the reality that a whole lot of companies can afford to have lobbyists and lawyers or capitol hill working their magic. let's recognize the reality that they're all paying 35%. we need to lower that to 25%. so let's phase out the corporate subsidies and clean out the cob webs and leave it more competitive for the 21st century. by doing that with our tax code and i know because we did it in the state that took us to the number one jobs creator in this country, it will leave you and your generation a far lot better off. but the only thing you have to worry about is the debt that's coming your way. we have a cancer that's eating away at the core of this country called debt. it will eat alive at this country until your generation
gets active in the 2012 election cycle and finds a leader who can address debt and growth. >> thank you, governor. speaker gingrich, some of the biggest companies in the united states, the oil companies, some would call government handouts in the form of tax breaks, tax exemptions, loopholes, they're making billions and billions of dollars. is that fair? >> i thought for a second, you were going to refer to general electric which has paid no taxes. i was astonished the other night to have the president there in the joint session with the head of ge sitting up there and the president talking about taking care of loopholes, and i thought to myself, doesn't he realize that every green tax credit is a loophole? that everything he wants -- everything general electric is doing is a loophole? why did we get to breaks for ethanol, breaks for oil and gas, et cetera? we got to them because of this idea which the young man just
represented. if we make it possible for you to keep more of your own money, you will do more of it. we have a simple choice. we can depend on saudi arabia, iran, iraq, venezuela or we can encourage development in the united states of manufacturing, as rick said, we can every courage development of oil and gas. we can do it by saying we're going to let you keep more of your money if you create more of what we want. i'm for an energy independent america, and that means i favor people who create energy. >> but i just want to follow up, mr. speaker. if you eliminate some of those loopholes, those exemptions whether for exxonmobil or ge or some other companies, there are those who argue that is in effect a tax increase and it would violate a pledge that so many republicans have made not to raise taxes. >> yes, a lot of people argue that. they're technically right, which is why i'm -- look, i'm cheerfully opposed to raising taxes. this government, we have a
problem with overspending. we don't have a problem with undertaxing. i think it would be good for us to say we're not going to raise any -- which is why i'm also in favor of keeping the tax cut on people who are working on social security and medicare. trying to raise the tax on working americans in the middle of the obama depression is a destructive policy. so i don't want to have any tax increase at any level for anyone. i want to shrink government to fit income, not raise income to try to catch up with government. >> let's go to cincinnati. we've got a question from cincinnati. go ahead. >> hello. my question is would any of you be willing to support the fair tax? >> governor romney. >> a fair tax is basically a national sales tax. >> the idea of a national sales
tax or consumption tax has a lot to go for it. one, it would make us more competitive globally as we sent products around the world because under the provisions of the world trade organization you can reimburse that to an exporter. we can't reimburse our taxes right now. it would level the playing field in the country making sure that everybody is paying part of their fair share. but the way the fair tax has been structured is a real problem and that is it lowers the burden on the very highest income folks and the very lowest and raises on middle income people. and the people who are going to hurt most by the obama-economy are the middle class. so my plan is to take the middle class individuals and dramatically reduce their taxes by the following measure. that is for middle income americans, no tax on interest, dividends or capital gains. let people save their money as the way they think is best for them, for their kids, for their future, for their retirement. we're taxing too much, spending too much and middle income americans need a break and i'll give it to them.
>> i need another question for portsmouth, virginia. go ahead. >> my name is linda gunn, i'm from portsmouth, virginia, i'm part of the virginia tea party taxpayers alliance. executive orders, under what circumstances should a president sign an executive order and how frequently should such an order be signed? >> congressman paul. >> the executive orders have been grossly abused by all administrations for a lot of years. some executive orders are legal. when the president executes proper function of the presidency like moving troops and other things, yes, it's done with an executive order. but the executive order should never be used to legislate. that is what is so bad. so the executive order should be taken under control.
and i made a promise that as president i would never use the executive order to legislate. >> governor perry, as you well know, you signed an executive order requiring little girls 11 and 12-year-old girls to get a vaccine to deal with a sexually transmitted disease that could lead to cervical cancer. was that a mistake? >> it was. and indeed, if i had it to do over again, i would have done it differently. i would have gone to the legislature, worked with them. but what was driving me was, obviously, making a difference about young people's lives. cervical cancer is a horrible way to die. and i happen to think that what we were trying to do was to clearly send a message that we're going to give moms and dads the opportunity to make that decision with parental opt-out. parental rights are very important in state of texas. we do it on a long list of vaccines that are made, but on
that particular issue, i will tell you that i made a mistake by not going to the legislature first. let me address ron paul just a minute by saying i will use an executive order to get rid of as much of obama care as i can on day one. >> congresswoman bachmann, do you have anything to say about what governor perry just said. you're a mom. >> i'm a mom of three children. to have innocent little 12-year-old girls be forced to have a government injection through an executive order is just flat out wrong. that should never be done. it's a violation of a liberty interest. that's -- little girls who have a negative reaction to this potentially dangerous drug don't get a mulligan. they don't get a do-over. the parents don't get a do-over. that's why i fought so hard in washington, d.c., against president obama and obama care. president obama in a stunning,
shocking level of power now just recently told all private insurance companies, you must offer the morning-after abortion pill because i said so and it must be free of charge. that same level coming through executive orders and through government diktates is wrong. that's why again we have to have someone who is absolutely committed to the repeal of obama care and i am. >> let governor perry respond. was what you signed into law, that vaccine for 11 and 12-year-old girls, was that a mandate? >> no, it was very clear it had an opt-out. at the end of the day, this was about trying to stop a cancer and giving the parental option to opt out of that. and at the end of the day, you may criticize me about the way that i went about it, but at the end of the day, i am always going to err on the side of life. and that's what this was really
all about. >> can i add to that, wolf? >> hold on a second. first congresswoman bachmann, then senator santorum. >> i just wanted to add that we cannot forget that in the midst of this executive order there was a big drug company that made millions of dollars because of this mandate. we can't deny that. >> what are you suggesting? >> what i'm saying is that it's wrong for a drug company, because the governor's former chief of staff was the chief lobbyist for this drug company, the drug company gave thousands of dollars in political donations to the governor, and this is just flat-out wrong. the question is is it about life or was it about millions of dollars and potentially billions for a drug company? >> i'll let senator santorum hold off for a second. you got to response to that. >> yes, sir. the company was merck, and it was a $5,000 contribution that i had received from them. i raise about $30 million.
and if you're saying that i can be bought for $5,000, i'm offended. >> well, i'm offended for all the little girls and the parents that didn't have a choice. that's what i'm offended for. >> i think we need to hear what governor perry's saying. he's saying that his policy was right. he believes that what he did was right. he think hess went about it the wrong way. i believe your policy is wrong. why? ladies and gentlemen, why do we inoculate people with vaccines in public schools? because we're afraid of those diseases being communicable between people at school. and therefore, to protect the rest of the people at school, we have vaccinations to protect those children. unless texas has a very progressive way of communicating diseases in their school by way of their curriculum, then there is no government purpose served for having little girls inoculated at the force and
compulsion of the government. this is big government run amok. it is bad policy, and it should not have been done. >> we'll move on, governor perry, unless you want to say anything else? >> look, i think we made decisions in texas. we put a $3 billion effort in to find the cure for cancer. there are the a lot of different cancers out there. texas, i think day in and day out is a place that protects life. i passed parental notification piece of legislation. i've been the most pro life governor in the state of texas. what we were all about was trying to save young people's lives. >> then give the parents the opt-in. teach them, let them opt in, but do not force them to have this innoculation. >> let's take a question from the audience.
give us your name please. >> taylor from orange park, florida, with the tea people's party. health care is expensive. what is your plan to reduce the cost of help care so that our insurance premiums can also be reduced. >> mr. cain? >> first, repeal obama care in its entirety. >> amen. >> secondly pass market driven patient centered reforms such as under the current code deductibility of health insurance premiums regardless of who pays for it. but as you know, i want to throw that out and put in my nine nine nine plan. secondly, the other thing that we can do to help bring down the costs is pass loser pay laws. doctors will tell you that one of their biggest expenses is medical liability insurance
because of frivolous lawsuits. secondly, restructure medicare. another big cost that's passed on to us as consumers related to all the bureaucracy associated with that. another market driven idea. allow association health plans. when i ran the national restaurant association which today has 14 million employee, we wanted to design a system for health insurance that was going to be customized for our industry. we could not do that. we need to be allowed to do that and so should other organizations and other associations. >> thank you, mr. cain. governor romney, a lot of the tea party supporters here and around the country have a real serious problem with the health care mandate that you got through in massachusetts. is there anything you want to say to them to revise or amend? do you stand by what you did? >> absolutely. let me come back and just mention something that -- herman cain is right and let's get back to getting the cost of health care down. i tha is an enormous issue.
i agree with almost everything you said. you hit the nail on head, it is not just because of insurance but because of the cost of providing care. one reason for that is the person who receives care in america generally doesn't care how much it costs because once they've paid their deductible, it's free. and the provider, the more they do, the more they get paid. we have something that's not working like a market. it's working like a government utility. we have to make sure that individuals have a concern and care about how much something costs. for that to happen, health savings accounts. give people a stake in what the cost of insurance is going to be. what the cost of it is going to be. with regard to massachusetts care, i'm not running for governor. i'm running for president. if i'm president, on day one, i'll direct the secretary of health and human services to grant a waiver from obama care to all 50 states. it's a problem, it's bad law, ats ps not constitutional, i'll get rid of it. >> governor perry, you're a firm
believer in states rights. can a state like massachusetts go ahead and pass health care reform including mandates? is that a good idea, if massachusetts wants to do it? >> that's what governor romney wanted to do. so that's fine. but the fact of the matter is that was the plan that president obama has said himself was the model for obama care. i think any of us who know that that piece of legislation will draw a line between the doctor/patient relationship, that will cost untold billions of dollars is not right for this country and, frankly, i don't think it was right for massachusetts when you look at what it's costing the people of massachusetts today. but at the end of the day, that was their call. so from a just purely states get to decide what they want to do, i agree with that in the state
of texas, we don't think that's the way we want to go. >> i want governor romney to respond first. >> first, i'd be careful about trusting what obama says about the source of his plan. number two, if you think what we did in massachusetts and what president obama did are the same, boy, take a closer look. because number one, he raised taxes $500 billion and helped slow down the u.s. economy by doing it. we didn't raise taxes. he cut medicare by $500 billion. this is a democrat president, the liberal so to speak, cut medicare, not republicans, the democrat. we dealt with the people in our state that were uninsured, some 9%. his bill deals with 100% of the people. he puts in place a panel that will ultimately tell people what kind of care they're going to have. we didn't do that. what the president did was the wrong course for america, the people of massachusetts favored our plan by three to one. states can make their own
choices. i'm happy to stand up for what he did. what he did as president was wrong. >> you're a physician, ron paul, you're a doctor. you know something about this subject. let me ask you this hypothetical question. a healthy 30-year-old young man has a good job, makes a good living, but decides i'm not going to spend 200 or $300 a month because i'm healthy, i don't need it. but something terrible happens, all of a sudden he needs it. who will pay if he goes into a coma, who pays for that? >> in a society that you accept welfarism and socialism, he expects the government to take care of him. >> what do you want? >> what he should do is whatever he wants to do and assume responsibility for himself. my advice to him would have a major medical policy. >> he doesn't have that and he needs intensive care for six months. who pays? >> that's what freedom is all about, taking your own risks. this whole idea that you have to
prepare and take care of everybody -- >> but congressman, are you saying that society should just let him die? >> i practiced medicine before we had medicaid in the early 1960s when i got out of medical school. i practiced at santa rosa hospital in san antonio and the churches took care of them. we never turned anybody away from the hospital. and we've given up on this whole concept that we might take care of ourselves and assume responsibility for ourself, our neighbors, our friends, our churches would do it. this whole idea -- that's the reason the cost is so high. the cost is so high because they dump it on the government, it becomes a bureaucracy. it becomes special interests, it kowtows to the special interests and the drug company, then on top of that you have the inflation, the inflation devalues the dollar. we have lack of competition. there's no competition in medicine. everybody is protected by licensing. we should legalize alternative
health care. allow people to practice what they want. >> congresswoman bachmann, weigh in on this hypothetical 30-year-old who needs six months of intensive care, has no insurance. >> with all due respect to the governor, i've read this health care bill. >> which health care bill. >> president obama's obama care bill. and waivers and executive orders won't cut it. if you could solve obama care with an executive order, any president could do it and any president could undo it. that's not how it can be done. plus, no state has the constitutional right to force a person as a condition of citizenship to buy a product or service against their will. it's unconstitutional. whether it's the state government or whether it's the federal government. the only way to eradicate obama care is to pull it out by the root and branch to fully repeal it. it's the only way we're going to get rid of it.
this is why i'm running for the presidency of the united states because 2012 is it. this is the election that's going to decide if we have socialized medicine in this country or not. this is it. why? i just have to say this. it's because president obama embedded 105 billion 464 million dollars in obama care in post dated checks to implement this bill. we are never going to get rid of it unless we have a president committed to getting rid of it. if you believe that states can have it and that it's constitutional, you're not committed. if you implement this in your state, you're not committed. i'm committed to repealing obama care. >> thank you. there is much, much more in this republican presidential debate. the cnn tea party debate. stand by. we're taking another quick break. when we come back, national security, immigration and a lot
i'm wolf blitzer in tampa at the tea party republican presidential debate. thousands of you are watching and commenting online on twitter, facebook and cnn.com. we've seen the candidates disagree on several issues already. when we come back, the staggering cost of the war in afghanistan, how to stop iran from building a nuclear weapon, and illegal immigration.
but we're taking questions from across the country. let's go to cincinnati. please identify yourself and ask the question. >> yes. what would you do to remove the illegal immigrants from our country? >> senator santorum, maybe 11, 12 million illegal immigrants in the united states. what would you do? >> i've said this from the very beginning. i'm the son of an italian immigrant. i believe in immigration. i believe that immigration is an important part of the life blood of this country. but what we have is a problem of an unskir border. unlike governor perry, i believe we need to build more fence, we need to secure the border using technology and more personnel. and until we build that border, we should neither have storm troopers come in and throw people out of the country nor should we provide amnesty. what we should do is enforce the laws in this country with
respect to employers and we should secure the border. and then after the border is secure, then we can deal with the problem that are in this country. but i think it's very important that we understand and we explain to folks that immigration is an important lifeblood of this country, something that i strongly support. and something that we have to do legally if we're going to have respect for the law. >> governor perry, he mentioned you. so go ahead. >> yes, sir. there's not anybody on this stage that's had to deal with the issue of border security more than i have with 1200 miles of texas and mexico and other federal government has been an abject failure at securing our border. we've had to spend some $400 million of texas taxpayer dollars to send texas ranger recon teams down there. strategic fencing in the metropolitan areas absolutely has a role to play. but the idea that you're going to build a wall from brownsville to el paso and go left for another 800 miles to tijuana is
not reality. what you have to have is boots on the ground. you got to have 4500 border patrol a littles trained up, 1500 national guard troops. you got to have the aviation assets in the air putting realtime information down to the law enforcement. we understand and know how to secure that border, but we can't do it alone. the federal government has to step up and do what their constitutional duty is and that is to secure the border with mexico. >> let me take a quick question from twitter, then i'll stay on the subject. what are the candidates doing to attract the latino voters? go ahead, senator. >> what governor perry's done is provided instate tuition for illegal immigrants. maybe that was an attempt to attract the illegal -- the latino voters. you talk about the importance,
as newt has talked about for many years, having english as the official language of this country. and i say that as, again my father and grandfather came to this country not speaking a word of english, but it was the greatest gift to my father to have to learn english so he could assimilate into this society. we're a melting pot, not a salad bowl. we need to continue that tradition. >> governor perry, you did sign legislation giving some illegal immigrants in texas the opportunity to have instate tuition at universities in texas n the state of texas, if you've been in the state of texas for three years, if you're working towards your college degree, and if you are working and pursuing citizenship in the state of texas, you pay instate tuition there. and the bottom line is it doesn't make any difference what the sound of your last name is. that is the american way. no matter how you got into that state, from the standpoint of
your parents brought you there or what have you. that's what we've done in the state of texas. and i'm proud that we are having those individuals be contributing members of our society rather than telling them, you go be on the government dole. >> you heard some boos there. but go ahead, congresswoman bachmann, is that basically the dream act that president obama wants as well? >> yes, it's very similar. and i think that the american way is not to give taxpayer subsidized benefits to people who have broken our laws or who are here in the united states illegally. that is not the american way. because the immigration system in the united states worked very, very well up until the mid-1960s when liberal members of congress changed the immigration laws. what works is to have people come into the united states with a little bit of money in their pocket legally with sponsors so if anything happens to them, they don't fall back on the taxpayers to take care of them.
then they also have to agree to learn the speak the english language, learn american history and our constitution. that's the american way. >> i'll go to governor huntsman. go ahead, governor perry. >> i'm not for the dream act that they are talking about in washington, d.c. that is amnesty. what we did in the state of texas was clearly a states right issue. and the legislature passed with only four dissenting votes in the house and the senate to allow this to occur. we were clearly sending a message to young people, regardless of what the sound of their last name is, that we believe in you. if you want to live in the state of texas and you want to pursue citizenship, that we're going to allow you the opportunity to be contributing members in the state of texas and not be a drag on our state. >> governor huntsman, you also signed legislation in utah that gave driving privileges to illegal immigrants. was that a good idea?
>> well, first of all, let me say for rick to say that you can't secure the border i think is pretty much a treasonous comment. >> i didn't hear that. >> rick, we can secure the border, we can secure the border through means of fences, through technology, through the deployment of our national guard troops, we can get it done. in fact, when elected president of the united states, i would work with you and the other three border governors to ensure that through your law enforcement officials you can verify that that border is secure. but i'll tell you before wolf here directs a question, they were given a driver's license before and they were using that for identification purposes. and i thought that was wrong. instead we issued a driver privilege card which in our state allowed our economy to continue to function. it said in very bold letters, not to be used for identification purposes. it proved that the tenth amendment works. we believe in local fixes and solutions.
>> governor romney, do you have a problem with either what governor huntsman did in utah or what governor perry did in texas? >> with both, actually. how do we attract latino voters. the answer is by telling them what they know in their heart. they and their ancestors did not come here for a handout. if they came here for a handout, they'd be voting for democrats. they came here for representation and that's why we'll win with latinos across the country. with regards to immigration, of course we build a fence and of course we do not give instate tuition credits to people who come here illegally. that only attracts people to come here and take advantage of america's great ben if sense. it creates a patina of legal credibility. i'm going to get my state police thorszed to be able to enforce
immigration laws and make sure that those people that we arrest and put in jail, find out they're here illegally, we get them out of here. this is the party that believes in supporting the law. we're going to enforce the law. we're the party of opportunity, we're also the party of legal law abiding citizens. that's something we're going to attract people of all backgrounds. >> as i said it earlier, we basically had a decision to make. are we going to give people an incentive to be contributing members of this society or are we going to tell them no, we're going to put you on the government dole? in the state of texas and this is a states right issue, if in mass chute you didn't want to do that or utah you didn't want to do this, that's fine. but in mexico, the state of texas, we have a clear and long relationship with this state. we decided it was in the best interests of those young people to give them the opportunity to
go on to college and to have the opportunity, they're pursuing citizenship in this country, rather than saying, you know, we're going to put you over here and put you on the government dole for the rest of your life, we don't think that was the right thing to do and it's working and working well in the state of texas. >> i know you want to respond to it. because he said what you did in utah was a mistake giving driving privileges to illegal immigrants. >> we can take all night talking about where mitt's been on the issues. all the hispanic voters want is opportunity, can we say that? the greatest thing we can do for the people in this country on illegal immigration is fix homeland security. i mean, when are we going to have an honest conversation in this country with the root causes. we can't screen people. we need to bring in brain power to shore up our economic might. we need to bring in foreign capital to raise real estate
prices as well. we need a fixed department of homeland security. >> thank you, governor. a question from phoenix. give us your name. >> the united states has an abundance of coal, oil, natural gas and uranium. the american people have been told for decades that energy independence is a top priority. what would you do in your first 100 days in office to assure the american people that energy independence will finally become a reality? >> mr. cain? >> the first thing i would do in order to assure that we get on the road to energy independence -- and i do believe that we can because we do have the natural resources to do so -- we've got to remove some of those barriers out of the way that are being created by the federal government. i would start with an epa that's gone wild. that's where we start.
i would put the government regulatory for every agency starting with the epa, this regulatory reduck commission. about if you want to solve a problem, go to the source closest to the problem. the people that i would appoint to that commission would be people who have been abused by the epa. that would be the commission to straighten out the regulatory burden. >> let's take a question from twitter. do you plan to decrease defense spending to balance spending or do you believe high spending is essential to security? speaker gingrich? >> i think we are at the edge of an enormous crisis in national security. i think that we are greatly underestimating the threat to this country. and i think the day after we celebrated the tenth anniversary of 9/11, we should be reminded exactly what is at stake if a foreign terrorist gets a nuclear weapon into this country.
we have failed for a decade to deal with north korea, we have failed for a decade to deal with iran. the developments in egypt and turkey are much more dangerous than anybody is looking at in this country. i think we need to ask, frankly, for a very serious national dialogue. i'd like to see both the house and senate right now holding hearings on three levels of security. what do you do in mexico where there's a civil war under way next door to us? what do you do in the middle east where we have totally underestimated the scale of the threat? and what do you do about our national domestic industrial base which is crucial if we're going to be competitive with china? all three of those are a major threat to us. >> congressman paul. >> first thing i'd like to do is make sure you know there's a difference between military spending and defense spending. i'm tired of all the militarism we're involved in and we're wasting this money and getting us involved. and i agree, we are still in danger, but most of the danger
comes by our lack of wisdom on how we run our foreign policy. so i would say there's a lot of room to cut on the military but not on the defense. you can slash the military spending. we don't need to be building airplanes that were used in world war ii. we're always fighting the last war. we're under grave threat because we occupy so many countries. we're in 130 countries. we have 900 bases around the world. we're going broke. the purpose of al qaeda was to attack us, invite us over there where they can target us. and they have been doing it. they have more attacks against us and the american interests per month than occurred in all the years before 9/11. but we're there occupying their land. and if we think that we can do that and not have retaliation, we're kidding ourselves. we have to be honest with ourselves. what would we do if another country, say, china, did to us what we do to all those countries over there? so i would say a policy, a
foreign policy that takes care of our national defense that we're willing to get along with people and trade with people as the founders advised, there's no authority in the constitution to be the policeman of the world and no nation building. just remember, george bush won the presidency on that platform in the year 2000. and i still think it's a good platform. >> let me let senator santorum respond because i know you strongly disagree. >> on your website on 9/11 you had a blog post that basically blamed the united states for 9/11, on your website, yesterday. you said that it was our actions that brought about the actions of 9/11. now, congressman paul, that is irresponsible. the president of the united states -- someone who is running for the president of the united states and the republican party should not be parroting what osama bin laden said on 9/11. we should have -- we are not
being -- we are not being attacked and we were not attacked because of our actions. we were attacked, as newt talked about, because we have a civilization that is antithetical to the civilization of the jihadists. they want to kill us because of who we are and what we stand for. we stand for american exceptional im, we stand for freedom and opportunity for everybody around the world, and i am not ashamed to do that. >> 30 second, mr. paul. >> as long as this country follows that idea, we're going to be under a lot of danger. this whole idea that the whole muslim world is responsible for this and they're attacking us because we're free and prosperous, that is just not true. osama bin laden and al qaeda have been explicit -- they have been explicit and they wrote and said that weattacked america because you have bases on our holy land in saudi arabia and
you don't give islamic countries fair treatment and you have been bombing -- i didn't say that. i'm trying to get you to understand what the motive was behind the bombing. at the same time we had been bombing and killing hundreds of thousands of iraqis for ten years. would you be annoyed? if you're not annoyed, then there's some problem. >> we have a question from the audience. go ahead. please identify yourself. >> hi. my name is sahar hekmati. i was brought here from ronald reagan. i'm from afghanistan. my question to you is as the next president of the united states, what will you do to secure safety and protection for the women and the children of afghanistan from the radicals? >> governor huntsman. >> we are ten years into this
war, sahar. america has given its all in afghanistan. we have families who have given the ultimate sacrifice. and it's to them that we offer our heartfelt salute and a deep sense of gratitude. but the time has come for us to get out of afghanistan. we don't need 100,000 troops in afghanistan nation building at a time when this nation needs to be built. we're of no value to the rest of the world if our core is crumbling, which it is in this country. i like those days when ronald reagan you talked about, when he would ensure that the light of this country would shine brightly for liberty, democracy, human rights and free markets. we're not shining like we used to shine. we need to shine again. i'm here to tell you, sahar, when we start shining again, it will help the women of afghanistan along with any other ngo work that can be done there and the collaborative efforts of great volunteer efforts here in the united states. we can get it done, but we have to make sure that the afghan people increasingly take responsibility for their
security going forward. >> very quickly, to governor perry, $2 billion a week, is that money well spent by u.s. taxpayers in afghanistan? >> well, i agree with governor huntsman when we talk about it's time to bring our young men and women home and as soon and obviously as safely as we can. but it's really important for us to continue to have a presence there. the entire conversation about how do we deliver our aid to those countries and is it best spent with 100,000 military who have the target on their back in afghanistan? i don't think so at this particular point in time. i think the best way for us to be able to impact that country is to make a transition to where that country's military is going to be taking care of their people. bring our young men and women home. and continue to help them build the infrastructure that we need, whether it's schools for young
women like yourself or otherwise. >> thank you, governor. we'll take another quick break. you're going to get to know these candidates a little bit better. when we come back, what would they add to the white house if they were to move in? [ male announcer ] we went to germany's nurburgring to challenge ourselves on the most demanding track in the world. with us, in spirit, was every great car that we'd ever competed with. the bmw m5. and the mercedes-benz e63.
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♪ clearing customs like that ♪ hurry up no time flat that's logistics. ♪ ♪ all new technology ups brings to me, ♪ ♪ that's logistics. ♪ eight republican presidential candidates on the stage. americans want to know a little bit more about you. but start with senator santorum. i want to go down and get your thoughts. on something you would bring to the white house if you were the next president of the united states. an example, president george h.w. bush put in a horseshoe pit. president obama put in a vegetable garden. >> mine is pretty obvious. we have aeven children.
so we'd add a bedroom or -- and some beds to the white house. >> speaker gingrich? >> first of all, i would reduce the white house by kicking out all of the white house czars the first day. creating a lot more space. and then we'd have a lot more interest because of my granddaughter maggie we'd have ballet. and because of my grandson we'd have a large chess set. >> i would bring a bushel of commence. and a course in austrian economics to teach the people the business cycle and why the fed creates depressions and all our unemployment problems. >> i'm going to bring the most beautiful first lady this country's ever seen, anita. >> one of my heroes was a man who had an extraordinary phrase.
he once said about us, you know, you can count on the americans to get things right after they've exhausted all the alternatives. now and then we've made a couple of mistakes. winston churchill used to have his bust in the oval office, i'm president of the united states i would bring that back. >> i would bring a copy of the declaration of independence, the constitution of the united states, the bill of rights and
that's it. >> i would bring a sense of humor to the white house, because america is too uptight. >> and governor huntsman. >> and to play to that theme, my wife's going to kill me for saying this, i'm going to bring my harley-davidson and my motocross bike. >> ladies and gentlemen, the eight republican presidential candidates. and that's all the time we have, ladies and gentlemen, please give a hand to our candidates for the republican nomination for president of the united states. we want to thank our partners, the tea party express, and 150 tea party groups from around the country. thanks also to our host, the florida state fair grounds. our next debate here on cnn in las vegas october 18th with the western republican leadership conference. we look forward to seeing the candidates and all of you there. the conversation continues online right now on twitter, facebook and cnnpolitics.com. more coverage of this debate with anderson cooper 360 right now. good evening, everyone. thank you very much. welcome to a special edition of ac 360. eight gop hopefuls facing off on
jobs, immigration, health care. it got contentious early on with two per served front-runners, mitt romney and rick perry facing off on social security. the situation room's wolf blitzer, john king, gloria borger, david gergern, eric ericson, ari fleischer and roland martin. wolf blitzer in your opinioning was there a clear winner tonight? >> yeah, anderson, hi, i'm over here, i don't know if you can see me. it's a little exciting on the stage right now. we're going to let the folks out there think -- decide if there were winners or losers. i was pleased because i thought we got to some substantive issues, we got to some real disagreements by these candidates. and i think folks emerged from
this debate a little more knowledgeable about these eight candidates than they did going in. i was pleased with what we heard and i was pleased with the opportunity we gave these candidates and through cnn, the american public to have a better appreciation of these eight republican candidates. one of whom is going to be the republican nominee and one of them may be the president of the united states. >> john king, in your opinion, the key moments tonight or a clear winner?t 1200
important, and that's why i thank cnn for hosting this debate. it's important that the voters get a chance to take a measure of the candidate. >> we'll see you again. thank you very much. >> anderson, as we toss it back to you, you asked me what i thought were the most interesting dynamics, i think congresswoman bachman knew she had quite a lot to prove tonight and she came out quite aggressive. she knew she needed to put some dents into governor perry. that was her goal. i would also say, speaker gingrich, senator santorum turned in strong spirited performances tonight. they've been strong on some of the past debates and unable to move the numbers. is the republican electorate looking at this race as perry, romney, maybe bachman or is it willing to have a more open mind and let some of these more struggling candidates into the conversation into their consideration? i think that's one of the big questions we'll have looking at the polling data, as we leave this debate and move into the future debates. >> david gergen, clearly
gingrich, santorum, herman cane got some of the louder applause of the night. that doesn't translate into any bump in the polls. a lot of folks were gunning -- were looking to try to take on perry. did they succeed in lessening his numbers a little bit? >> i don't think so, anderson, i will tell you this hall is crackling with excitement, these tea partiers love this debate. they like the fact that the other candidates had a chance to get in more evenly, but just as they loved it, there were many, judging from what's been on twitter tonight who were horrified, the country is divided about this, in terms of the dynamics of this race within the republicans, there's no question that romney and perry will remain the front-runners,